The Fear of Conflicts of Interest

As has been written in this blog a number of times, the imputation of a conflict of interest is often perceived as badly as a conflict.

A person who manages a commission does not have the vote. However, the person may have influence because the person is the manager of a commission.

The best way to avoid the problem is simply not step in the mud. The Caldwell situation is a fiasco.  The article offers additional kindling for the fire.

The city also said Pioneer’s law firm, "notably now where Semanko is an attorney, stands to lose out on significant revenue if the fee scheme is stopped and the lawsuit ends." And it accused Semanko of coming out with the resolution to "protect the firm’s revenue stream."

The "fee scheme" refers to fees paid to Moffatt Thomas for the processing of licensing agreements for obtaining written permission to alter, access, cross, or encroach upon Pioneer’s easements or rights-of way.

The resolution opposing water takings by eminent domain came from the resolution committee and was passed by the Water Users members at the association’s annual meeting in Boise.

Semanko said he is an employee of the association, taking direction from its board of directors, and doesn’t set policy for the organization.

The resolution also asks the city to withdraw its lawsuit and to work cooperatively with Pioneer to resolve the issue.

"It’s sad to see a proud city like Caldwell reduced to personal attacks," Semanko said. "We’re going to keep focused on the issue. It’s too important for Idaho and irrigated agriculture."

The city also accused Scott Campbell, Pioneer’s attorney, of unethical conduct that harms Pioneer’s patrons and Caldwell residents, citing "the scheme" by which non-negotiable fees were demanded for the processing of licensing agreements.

In 2009, the city and a handful of developers sued Pioneer, Moffatt Thomas and Campbell over those fees paid to "Moffatt Thomas or Campbell."